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Quality Enhancement Plan

The Civic Experience Program

The Civic Experience Program is intended to introduce Rice undergraduates to the city of Houston. Focusing primarily on volunteer, internship, and other experiential-learning opportunities, this program will provide students greater access to urban Houston and greater knowledge of its people, social issues, and community assets. These "exposure" opportunities will encourage civic engagement by allowing our students to see Houston as a vibrant, dynamic environment for learning.

The Civic Experience Program will offer a range of co-curricular opportunities for students, supplemented by newly created gateway courses for students who may be interested in pursuing the community-based research offered through the Civic Inquiry Program .

The Civic Experience Program's co-curricular component integrates and enhances such existing programs as Passport to Houston, Urban Immersion, and those offered through the university's Community Involvement Center, as well as introduces new programs such as Community Site Visits and a Civic Engagement Mentors Program. All of these are described in the Plan section of this document.

The Civic Experience Program will supplement these co-curricular opportunities with newly established gateway courses that will better prepare students for successful participation in the more advanced community-based research courses that form the Civic Inquiry Program . Topics covered in these 1- or 2-credit courses, aimed primarily at first- and second-year students, will include ethics, communication and presentation skills, and research methods. Current course offerings by Leadership Rice 6 -in leadership theory and practice, entrepreneurship, ethics, and communication, along with a one-on-one mentorship experience-will be part of this program and integrate the role of leadership into student civic development.

 


Footnotes:

  1. Leadership Rice, an existing program that will become part of a newly created Center for Civic Engagement, combines academic work and experiential learning to help undergraduates from all disciplines build their leadership capacities to create and manage change. The role of Leadership Rice in the QEP is explained in the Plan section of this document.